The following is a guest post from momAgendaCOMM blogger Leah Jantzen.
This week officially kicks off the holiday season. Whether people’s libation of choice is eggnog, Red Burgundy or anything in between, we tend to overdo it from now until New Year’s Eve when in the company of loved ones who are also in the mood to wind down for the year. Oh, and don’t forget the food! Chips, dips, sausages and holiday classics such as cookies, cheese logs, fruit cakes as well as the turkeys and roasts—it’s no wonder why for most of us, the holidays are a time for letting ourselves go.
Even though it is a time many of us lose focus on our health and fitness, I want to help you maintain that focus. Here are eight tips for you to consider when trying to stay fit through the holiday season:
1. Have a strategy when going to a holiday party—i.e. don’t attend hungry. Try to snack on something healthy at home before you go, like vegetable sticks or a salad without dressing. That way, you won’t be as tempted to gorge yourself with all of the appetizers and unhealthy offerings because you’ll already have something in your tummy taking up space.
2. Keep your alcohol intake to a minimum. Obviously, there’s the social factor involved; after all, you don’t want to be the one your friends tell embarrassing stories about for years to come, right? But yes, alcohol has empty calories as well, lots of them. A good way to limit your drinking is to order a wine spritzer. You are still drinking, but it’s half the alcohol and low in calories with club soda.
3. Try to exercise on days you may be tempted to indulge—e.g. the day of your work holiday party, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and so on. Often when we exercise, we feel good and don’t want to ruin our hard work. The confidence we get from a good workout helps keep us on track. It’s the perfect antidote to the dreaded mentality of, “Oh, forget it. I didn’t work out. I might as well pig out!” And then you let go and eat your face off. Stick to your workout regimen and you’ll maintain that momentum.
4. Sneak in workouts whenever you can. This will help burn off extra calories when we do indulge. It doesn’t have to be a full hour at the gym or on the treadmill. Sometimes a quick ten-minute workout at home can be sufficient to get the blood flowing and muscles pumping. If you can do ten minutes twice or more per day, even better. For me, I go into my basement and do squats for ten minutes or even plank holds. I may even work on my handstands with my daughter if I can’t get to the gym. I feel empowered and invigorated from doing this, even if it’s for a short period of time. It’s better than nothing!
5. Strike a balance. Now, if you do plan on indulging at a party, make sure you balance it out the day before and the days after with the foods you eat. Personally, I plan ahead. If I know I’m going to eat a lot (or have unhealthy foods), I make sure the days prior and those after I am extra good to make up for it. Teamed up with staying fit, planning out meals like this can really help.
6. Get a buddy. Make a commitment to each other to stay on track during the season. Having someone else makes you more accountable and more likely to stay on track. When you see your buddy grabbing one too many rice-krispy treats on Christmas Eve, step in. Support each other and help one another to get through the holidays without going too far off track.
7. Don’t give up. If you do have a bad night—say you were the one who drank too much eggnog—or go through a stretch of time when you don’t exercise, don’t give up. You can still start the next morning with a healthy routine.
8. Be realistic. This is not typically a time when people lose weight. Try and maintain your weight and stay as close to your routine as possible. Temptation is around every corner.
Finally, remember that it’s a festive time of the year, a time to enjoy. Don’t let your worries about weight gain or calories ruin your spirit.
Leah Jantzen is a Life and Business coach who works with highly motivated individuals looking to make profound changes in their lives. Before starting her coaching business, she was a guidance counselor for 12 years in her hometown on the North Shore of Long Island.